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Convectively Induced Turbulence Encountered During NASA's Fall-2000 Flight ExperimentsAircraft encounters with atmospheric turbulence are a leading cause of in-flight injuries aboard commercial airliners and cost the airlines millions of dollars each year. Most of these injuries are due to encounters with turbulence in and around convection. In a recent study of 44 turbulence accident reports between 1990 and 1996, 82% of the cases were found to be near or within convective activity (Kaplan et al. 1999). According to NTSB accident reports, pilots' descriptions of these turbulence encounters include 'abrupt', 'in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC)', 'saw nothing on the weather radar', and 'the encounter occurred while deviating around' convective activity. Though the FAA has provided guidelines for aircraft operating in convective environments, turbulence detection capability could decrease the number of injuries by alerting pilots of a potential encounter. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, through its Aviation Safety Program, is addressing turbulence hazards through research, flight experiments, and data analysis. Primary focus of this program element is the characterization of turbulence and its environment, as well as the development and testing of hazard estimation algorithms for both radar and in situ detection. The ultimate goal is to operationally test sensors that will provide ample warning prior to hazardous turbulence encounters. In order to collect data for support of these activities, NASA-Langley's B-757 research aircraft was directed into regions favorable for convectively induced turbulence (CIT). On these flights, the airborne predictive wind shear (PWS) radar, augmented with algorithms designed for turbulence detection, was operated in real time to test this capability. In this paper, we present the results of two research flights when turbulence was encountered. Described is an overview of the flights, the general radar performance, and details of four encounters with severe turbulence.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Hamilton, David W.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA United States)
Proctor, Fred H.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Publication Information
Issue: Paper 10.8
Subject Category
Meteorology And Climatology
Meeting Information
Meeting: 10th Conference on Aviation, Range and Aerospace Meteorology
Location: Portland, OR
Country: United States
Start Date: May 13, 2002
End Date: May 16, 2002
Sponsors: American Meteorological Society
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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